The check-point at South Pullu on the way to Khardung La up on the right.
There are many places to visit from Leh but with sanDRina's chain not looking too good, I just decided on the main attraction, Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world. I set off with my traveling friends, Henry and Clara, and right out of Leh, the climb started. It's just up one huge mountain with every hair-pin bend quickly rising up our altitude. Ladakh is very dry, in general, and as the altitude increases, things become drier and colder. The road is all tarred up to the check point at South Pullu, where we had to show our Inner Line Permits before proceeding for the final haul up to the pass.
From there, the road got rough with bumps and mud and glacier stream crossings, known as nallahs here. Traffic was also pretty heavy as most people who visit Leh make the trip up to Khardung La. Just before the pass, the route was blocked by some ongoing road construction. The Border Roads Organization is doing a tough job by building a two-lane road over such rough terrain, but it's of national importance since this the supply route to Siachen Glacier and the army camps there.
After a short wait, traffic was let through and wow, I was at the highest motorable pass in the world, or so the sign claimed. I'm not sure how B.R.O. gets their altitude readings but their claimed elevation of Khardung La of 5,602 m (18,375 ft) is off by quite a lot. My GPS was telling me we were at 5,380 m (17,646 ft), still the highest that I've been on this trip and nice to be here.
Watch the video postcard from Khardung La:
I saw lots of prayer flags all through Ladakh and bought my own set in Leh and let it fly in the wind at Khardung La. I wished for a good end to this journey as from here on, I would be heading south to Delhi.
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- Khardung La